Gov. Jack Dalrymple today urged Steve Guertin, regional director of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, to increase water releases and create more storage capacity at Lake Darling Dam for greater flood protection during spring runoff.
Dalrymple also pressed Guertin, other U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials and Col. Michael Price, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' St. Paul District, to study the feasibility of enlarging the dam and to consider other alternatives for greater long-term flood protection.
"Flood protection must always be the top priority in managing our dams," Dalrymple said. "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to look at operational changes that could provide better flood protection for downstream communities next spring and they need to explore all options for improved, long-term flood relief."
Dalrymple met with Guertin at Minot City Hall. Other officials who attended the meeting included Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman; Meg Estep, chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Water Resources Division; state Engineer Todd Sando,; Dan Ashley of the Souris River Joint Board and Murray Sagsveen, the state's flood recovery coordinator.
"The meeting was very encouraging because the Army Corps of Engineers did open the door to the possibility of a modified operating plan that could lead to more flexibility in the management of the Lake Darling Dam," Dalrymple said. "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also indicated a willingness to discuss a long-term plan to increase the size of the Lake Darling reservoir."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service owns and operates Lake Darling Dam, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers takes over the dam's management during periods of flood risk.